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Further underlining its environmental credentials, the sunny-all-year holiday island of Aruba has announced two further initiatives.
The Dutch Caribbean island’s Customs authority has said it will now more strictly enforce laws preventing visitors trying to fly home with sea shells.
The Aruba Tourism Authority has partnered with the Directorate of Nature and Environment, the Aruba Airport Authority and Aruban Customs to create a visual and social media information campaign to remind all passengers that these items are prohibited by law. They aim to raise awareness amongst visitors and locals alike that removing sea shells from the beach is a damaging practice.
Passengers risked being fined if they are found with sea shells at the security checkpoint on departure and this could, potentially, delay them to the extent they could miss their flight. Passengers will still be able to dispose of sea shells at check-in to avoid being fined.
Meanwhile, an iconic tree on one of the island’s beaches is also gaining additional protection. The fofoti tree is a renowned natural feature across the island, growing everywhere but especially close to the sea.
One such particularly notable tree is on Palm Beach, in front of the Amsterdam Manor Hotel, which has been used in various photo-shoots and is a familiar symbol of the island.
It is protected by local laws and now signs are being put up in the area to heighten awareness of its status and reminding visitors and locals that they may not climb it – thus potentially breaking branches - or hang anything from it.
Aruba is a leader among Caribbean islands in its environmental initiatives. Local buses have all converted to electric power as part of a drive to make the island fossil-fuel free and all single-use plastic was banned last year.
Various environmental projects encourage visitors to lend a hand, like the annual Reef Care Project in September and the renowned National Coastal Clean-up Day in October.